We Have Moved: Check out our all-new website!

British Junior Open 2009

Wee Wern Clinches Maiden Title At British Jr Open

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's top junior squash player Low Wee Wern clinched her maiden title at the British Junior Open after her third appearence in the championship.

The world No 42 defeated last year's Under-17 champion Dipika Pallikal of India 3-1 in the finals of the Girl's Under-19 category held at Abbeydale, Sheffield earlier Wednesday morning.

The five-day championship began on Jan 2.

"She wasn't really there in the first set...that one was pretty easy. But she came back strongly in the second set. Then, I made a few errors at the start of the third set, so she took advantage of that.

"I am feeling a bit of excitement at winning and bit of relief that I have won one, at last," said the 18-year-old Penangite as quoted in the tournament's official website.

In the finals, Wee Wern was in control in the first two sets with 11-2 and 11-8 but Dipika bounced back in third set (11-8) forcing the Malaysian to fight harder in the fourth set to clinch her maiden British Junior Open title with 11-8 in a 42-minute match play.

On Monday, Wee Wern beat Canada's Laura Gemmell 9-11, 12-10, 13-15, 11-8, 11 -7 in her semi-final match.

However, luck was not on the side of another top national junior player, Ivan Yuen, in the Boy's Under-19 finals.

Yuen, 18, was defeated by world junior champion and world no 36, Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt in straight sets of 8-11, 7-11 and 11-13 in 33 minutes.

Yuen's best achievement in the British Junior Open was a third placing in the Under-17 category in 2006.

In the semi-finals, Yuen defeated Alfredo Avila of Mexico 11-8, 11-3, 11-8, while Shorbagy had to fight compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad 11-2, 11-8, 7-11, 11-13 and 11-8 in a 69-minute match to clinch the finals berth.

Yuen turned professional in 2007, and is currently ranked world no 135.


Can Wee Wern Take Over Nicol's Place?

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8(Bernama) -- The search for the athlete to replace world number one player and Malaysia's squash queen, Datuk Nicol Ann David, may have ended in Low Wee Wern, the winner of the British Open Junior Squash championship.

Yesterday, Low, the country's key junior player, won the championship, which was won by Nicol four years ago.

Low, 18, beat Indian Dipika Pallikal, who is the defending champion 11-2, 11-8 and 11-8 after a 33-minute game.

National Sports Council director-general Datuk Zolkples Embong said it was still too early for Low to replace Nicol and regarded Low's win as "unexpected".

"However, winning the championship was a good step for Low to improve her performance at international level," he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

Zolkples said he would ask the Squash Racket Association of Malaysia (SRAM) to prepare a plan to raise the performance, not only of Low, but also of the other players.

Meanwhile, a sports science lecturer at a local university who requested to be known as K C Ling said said Low's win in the championship should be used by SRAM to undertake the necessary measures to improve his performance.

"It is not easy to replace Nicol, but there is a possibility of Low stepping into her shoes in another 10 years. We have to do something so that Low can continue to excel in the sport after Nicol retires," he said.

With yesterday's victory, Low is ranked 42nd in the world.